Traveling on your own can be very rewarding, and for weary souls who need to take a break, it’s a great way to know yourself better. It may be a bit lonely and uncomfortable at first, but eventually, you will come to appreciate the core of traveling and how it transform you in unusual situations.
When you travel unaccompanied, you will be more focused on the place you’re in. You will also be on your own terms—going about your journey according to your own preferences.
As attractive as it may sound, traveling solo also means you won’t have a back-up person to rely on in case you encounter stressful circumstances as you go along with your trip, which, if you’re not careful, can also pose some danger. This is one of the reasons why many get put off by the idea. But of course, there’s a workaround.
To help you get the most out of your solo trip, it wouldn’t hurt to keep these common 15 mistakes solo travelers commit in mind:
- Too much luggage
Instead of going crazy over which pieces of clothing would match your destination, why not pay attention to packing smartly and lightly? You only need to bring essentials to allow you to manage and keep an eye on your luggages at all times. Too much load also slows you down, and will wear you out quickly.
It also helps if you plan your itinerary before the flight so that you’d know which specific items to pack. Some plain shirts, a rain jacket, a pair of jeans, a comfy sweater, swimming pants, underwear for a week are sound about right.
- Not carrying emergency medicines and numbers
Your body is adjusting to a different place, and maybe a different climate—not to mention the fatigue from all that traveling so there’s a chance that these adjustments might manifest physically. Carry your own first-aid box with basic medicines like aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen, as well as other materials like cotton, adhesive and bandages in case of a health emergency. These will also save you additional medical expenses.
Also, always put your best foot forward before you depart for a foreign country. Keep notes of important contact details such emergency numbers, local consulate and embassy addresses.
- Keeping your documents unsecure
Naturally, immigration officials are watchful of tourists going in and out their countries. And since you are a traveler, keeping your documents accessible will help you well in case you get stuck in sticky situations.
Photocopy your documents and make sure to leave some at your home. Separate the original from the copies and secure them at all times. The last thing you want to happen is to be a victim of identity theft in a foreign land with no way to defend yourself.
- Forgetting to make reservations
Standing in long lines is a drag, but standing in long lines alone is almost unendurable. If you are going to popular attractions, museums or anywhere else that will require some waiting, securing online reservations ahead of time to places you’d like to visit will do the trick.
- Losing connection with family
Keep your family and friends updated. Tell them if you’re going on a road trip or if you’re already at the hotel or apartment just to let them know that you are safely arrived. This way, they’d know how to track you down in case of emergencies.
- Feeling shy
Just because you’re travelling, doesn’t mean you have to be by yourself all throughout your journey. Connecting with different people and immersing in diverse cultures are what make travelling a rewarding experience.
Take the time to connect with other travelers from which you could hopefully pick up some advice. Meet some locals also. They are experts of the things you are unfamiliar with but still be wary of sharing too much information with them. Make new friends, but use good judgement. You can never too sure about who you are dealing with.
- Keeping ALL your money in one place
God forbid your wallet gets stolen with all your travel money inside. Still, it’s good to put your best foot forward in this situation by not stashing them all together. Instead, place your money in several compartments. More than carrying a credit card, it’s best for you to use cash at all times. Do not bring large amount of money while on the road and keep your emergency back-up funds in a separate.
- Traveling to your destination without some homework
This is basically “going to battle unarmed”. Sure, part of the reason why you’re doing solo travel in the first place is because of spontaneity and discovering things about the place as the days pass can add up to the thrill, but you’re risking more than you bargained for in terms of budget and safety.
Do your research and make appropriate plans. Introduce the city to yourself because this is where you’d be spending some time alone. The more you know, the more you’d feel confident and secure about your trip.
- Limiting and rushing yourself
You have all the time to do whatever you want. Explore activities you haven’t done before. Discover new delicacies to satisfy your cravings. Enjoy where you are staying and take in as much of it as you can. Stop the rushing and begin taking the time to relax and see what each place has to offer.
- Keeping your stuff unattended
Be aware of your bag or luggage most especially when you’re in a crowded place. Keep all your important items such as phone, passport, camera and wallet all in one place and not leave them out of your sight.
- Going to dark places
It is better to go in a public place. Remember that you are alone in a place you’re not familiar with and there’s no guarantee that people will notice if something bad happened to you. Never forget to update your immediate family and friends wherever you may go.
Dress appropriately and comfortably. Avoid wearing flashy jewelries as they naturally attract attention—both wanted and unwanted. Err on the side of safety by dressing modestly to prevent getting attention from wandering eyes.
- Not trusting your gut feeling
When it comes to safety, to go with your internal instincts. If you’re a bit suspicious of the place you’re going or person you’re interacting with, then leave.
- Being intoxicated in public
Enjoying yourself is different from pushing your limits. Drinking too much
It’s never a good idea to become intoxicated in public. But when traveling solo, it can be an expensive, even dangerous experience. Keep in mind that public drunkenness results in a variety of fines and punishments around the world, and some of them are far more serious than you can imagine.
If you pop in at a bar for an evening tipple, try to avoid getting too drunk. Limit your alcohol intake as there may not be anybody to take care of you.
- Not having a travel insurance
We couldn’t stress enough how inconvenient thing might happen when you travel that’s why purchasing travel insurance is a worthy expenditure. It will cover emergency medical expenses and baggage loss and delay, and recover at least some of the cost of your trip if your vacation has to be cancelled.
Travel insurance will be your partner, and youcan count on it to look out for you since you’re going on a trip alone. Keep and always carry a copy of your insurance in your luggage everywhere you go.
Solo travel is a liberating experience. There is nothing more exciting than being the master of your own intuitions and being able to go to the destination of your choice, fulfill your bucket list and escape the humdrum and humbug of your routine life. But remember that in every journey, you will run into inconveniences when you least expect them to.
This is why it pays to be alert should you decide to take on this experience, and a trusted travel insurance partner will leave you worry-free to explore the world. MAPFRE INSULAR offers superior travel insurance packages to provide assistance to you, anytime and anywhere in the world you may be.
To help you decide what suits your travel needs, visit the MAPFRE website at https://www.mapfre.com.ph/.
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